This particular story was written for Australian Writer’s Centre Furious Fiction competition, where every month writers have 55 hours to write a 500-word short story that adhere to specific rules. The rules for the month of April were to use three quotes from three different well-known novels. Can you guess what they are?

The answer is at the end!


“It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution,” Donna said to her trainee Adrian as they hovered over the whizzing fairy floss machine. “It may sound stupid to say, but beware the leather straps on the spinning turbine. They fucking hurt.”
Adrian looked at the floss machine, seemingly fearing its high-pitched drone.
“Now, let’s see you make a stick.” Donna held one out between her fingers and twirled it. “Remember to twirl like this.”
“Okay,” said Adrian, slightly nervous. He grabbed a stick from the bucket and twirled it in his right hand. Donna smiled and nodded, then knelt down to flick on the heat switch.
“Now for a practice run. Give it a minute.”
By chance, a casual-looking man strolled up to the window. Donna greeted him with her usual carny charm.
“Can I get a stick, please?” He asked.
“Certainly, sir,” Donna replied, leaning over to the bucket of sticks, grabbing one and promptly handing it to the man. He looked at it, confused, and asked for fairy floss on it.
“Oh, you have to be specific, sir. We’re not mind readers.” Donna giggled cheekily. “Adrian here will make one for you. He’s never done anything like this before.”
They waited a few more seconds until minuscule specks of stringy sugar floated up from the tiny holes that dotted the sides of the turbine. As the heat grew, so too did the flow. The tiny specks transformed into a flowing web that stuck to the sides of the bowl.
“Now, just as I showed you before; start from here and work your way around anti-clockwise.”
Adrian split the forming web with the stick and rolled it up along the bowl. Suddenly the sound of slapping leather sprung throughout the floss stall.
“Ah, fuck.”
“Don’t mind that, happens to us all. Just pick it up and keep spinning.”
Adrian snatched up the stick from the bottom of the bowl, wincing at the melted sugar that spewed out onto his exposed wrist, and tried to keep on twirling and rolling. Donna saw that the fairy floss wasn’t wound on the stick properly and predicted in her mind the eventual consequence. Halfway through Adrian’s second round, the floss gave way and fell into the bowl. Adrian grunted, dropping the stick.
“I don’t think I can do this,” he whinged. Donna scrunched her nose. She leant over and collected the stick, pulled out the wasted floss and dropped it into the bucket of water below. Then she spun the stick, with years of practice, and whisked up a ball of floss the size of a human head. The man paid and left.
“You’re never going to get anywhere with that attitude,” Donna said to Adrian. “I’m not expecting you to get the hang of it in five minutes, but you won’t get the hang of it at all by whinging. So,” she declared, “what’s it going to be then, eh?”


The three quotes are:

  • “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
  • “He’s never done anything like this before done.”
  • “What’s it going to be then, eh?”

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